“If we change the way we power our cities, then we will change the way we power our world and, in the process, we may well save it. The fact is that some of the most promising, innovative, effective climate solutions are coming directly from mayors around the world and around the United States.” – United States Secretary of State John Kerry

“Air pollution hurts cities business environments by making them less attractive places to live and work, so attacking climate change and promoting economic growth really do go hand-in-hand. Each city has its own unique culture and needs, but the nuts and bolts of what make a city run tend to be similar. What works for one city usually holds valuable lessons for many others. The more we can help mayors and city officials innovate and collaborate, the more progress we can all make.” - U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change and former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg


From October 5-15, 2016, Our Cities, Our Climate: A Bloomberg Philanthropies – U.S. State Department Partnership, will bring together 17 urban sustainability directors for an international exchange to highlight and advance city climate action.

Participants will travel to San Francisco, Austin, and Washington, D.C., where they will meet with U.S. leaders in the sustainability field, participate in site visits focused on specific climate mitigation and adaptation challenges, and learn from each other through interactive problem-solving sessions. The program aims to strengthen dialogue and collaboration between U.S. and international cities; arm cities with the tools and networks to meet their climate goals; and encourage ambitious target-setting and the adoption of climate-related best practices at the subnational level, in partnership with national governments.

The program focuses on strategies for:

  • Transitioning to a renewable energy supply system;
  • Improving energy efficiency in existing buildings and creating net zero energy standards for new buildings;
  • Shifting transportation systems to prioritize biking, walking, and public transportation; and
  • Diverting 100% of waste streams;
  • Ensuring climate preparedness; and
  • Engaging key stakeholders.
  • Our Cities, Our Climate leverages city leadership by convening an international conversation for global sustainability directors – along with U.S. officials and organizations – to share experiences, discuss solutions, and ultimately accelerate the progress the world’s cities are making to address climate change.

    The 2016 agenda builds on last year’s inaugural exchange, which reinforced climate-action momentum in the final weeks leading up to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 21) and achievement of the historic Paris Agreement.

    2016 Events

    Our Cities, Our Climate will begin in San Francisco, California (October 5-9), where participants will focus on solid waste management, transportation innovation, and community engagement strategies. Their time in San Francisco will include visits to Recology Recycle Central at Pier 96, an integrated resource recovery center with a zero-waste strategy; and the restored San Francisco Ferry Building, a highlight of the city’s diverse transportation infrastructure.

    Next they will travel to Austin, Texas (October 9-12), where they will focus on adaptation planning, climate-smart energy supply and building systems. Participants will tour the Mueller District, a 700-acre airport redevelopment project for mix-used space that must be LEED certified or meet Austin sustainable building requirements, as well as the Pike Powers Lab, a research and development center piloting energy conservation technologies.

    While in Austin, Our Cities, Our Climate participants will attend SXSW Eco where they will hear from innovators and environmental leaders across sectors on the importance of accelerating the transition to a sustainable future. They will also have the opportunity to share about the exchange with SXSW Eco attendees during a panel including Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin; Antha Williams, head of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ environment program; and Jonathan Pershing, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change.

    The exchange will culminate in Washington, D.C., (October 12-15), where the District of Columbia will host a discussion on Climate Ready DC, and participants will focus on climate resilience and water management. Participants will tour the DC Water Campus and the Yards Park, which combine residential and commercial uses with green infrastructure, energy efficiency, and other climate action strategies. They will also visit the U.S. State Department, which will host a roundtable with U.S. government officials and a series of ignite-style presentations from non-government organizations active in the urban sustainability space. The program will conclude with a wrap-up session for participants to reflect on the exchange and discuss next steps.

    Participating Cities